WILMINGTON, Del., Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The law firm of Chimicles & Tikellis LLP and its client, Dauphin County Employee Retirement Fund, have reached a Settlement on behalf of Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. (NYSE: FCX) with certain of the Company's directors and officers. The settlement, totaling $137.5 million and subject to approval by the Delaware Court of Chancery, will resolve shareholder derivative actions brought beginning in late 2012 relating to Freeport-McMoRan's acquisition of its affiliate McMoRan Exploration and of Plains Exploration.
The Settlement provides that Defendants will cause a dividend in the amount of $137.5 million to be paid to Freeport-McMoRan stockholders. Not only is this one of the largest stockholder derivative settlements, but it is also believed to be the first to ensure the benefits of such a settlement flow to stockholders in the form of a cash dividend. The Settlement also requires that Freeport-McMoRan adopt and preserve improved corporate governance practices. In addition, the Settlement allows Plaintiffs to pursue additional claims against Credit Suisse, which acted as a financial advisor to Freeport-McMoRan in connection with the acquisition.
Co-lead counsel Pamela S. Tikellis of Chimicles & Tikellis stated: "The first-of-its-kind settlement will provide significant financial benefits to Freeport-McMoRan and its investors to compensate for overpayment associated with the acquisition. In addition, the Settlement allows Plaintiffs to pursue claims against Credit Suisse for its role in the harm against Freeport and its stockholders."
Jeff Haste, Chairman of the Dauphin County Board of Commissioners said, "The Settlement represents an excellent and historic victory for investors in holding directors and officers accountable to stockholders. I'm pleased that Dauphin County was in a position to lead that effort."
The case is styled: In Re Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Derivative Litigation, C.A. No. 8145-VCN.
Prior to the acquisition, Freeport-McMoRan, certain of its officers and directors and Plains Exploration each had substantial investments in McMoRan Exploration. Plaintiffs claimed that McMoRan Exploration was in a dire economic and operational condition and the acquisition was a disloyal bail-out. The suit further alleged that the price paid by Freeport-McMoRan for McMoRan Exploration vastly exceeded the value of McMoRan Exploration as a going concern and that certain Freeport-McMoRan insiders benefited from the acquisition at the expense of the Company and its public stockholders.
After the actions related to the acquisition were filed, the parties engaged in extensive discovery through document production and depositions. On March 12, 2014, Vice Chancellor John Noble of the Delaware Court of Chancery heard oral arguments on Defendants' motions to dismiss the claims. After the hearing, the parties engaged in settlement discussions, including several rounds of mediation guided by the Honorable Layn R. Phillips in an effort to reach a resolution.
Note: Institutional investors, individuals and businesses have relied on Chimicles & Tikellis LLP for over 25 years to litigate securities fraud, fiduciary duty, consumer and antitrust cases. Having recovered billions of dollars on behalf of its clients, Chimicles & Tikellis has earned a reputation as skilled and aggressive litigators. The firm has significant experience in prosecuting class action and derivative litigation in state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Chimicles & Tikellis has been recognized by SCAS 50 and Best Law Firms as one of the leading plaintiffs' law firms. Visit www.chimicles.com for additional information about Chimicles & Tikellis.
SOURCE Chimicles & Tikellis LLP